College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions

MEd in Early Childhood Education

If you’re interested in working with young children in public or private schools, childcare centers, or community programs but did not pursue a teaching degree as an undergraduate, then our master’s program in early childhood education may be a fit for you.

Classes are designed to meet the needs of adult learners, and you can continue to work full-time as you study. Classes generally meet one evening per week in the late afternoon or evening. Final student teaching experiences will require your availability during the day.

Quick Facts

About the Program

for placement only

Our program focuses on using an integrated model to prepare students to work with families, provide inclusive services for children, and collaborate with other industry professionals. Teachers will have the skills to work in public and private schools, childcare centers, and community-based programs with children between birth and age 8.

Our master’s program offers a number of benefits:

  • Cross-disciplinary electives promote well-rounded teacher preparation and knowledge of early childhood development
  • Convenient, affordable evening classes offered in person and online
  • Rigorous professional preparation includes theory, fieldwork, student teaching, and internships at community partner schools
  • Learning focuses on the complete early childhood span from infants through age 8
  • Coursework Integrates understanding of typical and atypical child development to prepare students to teach children across the learning spectrum
  • Degree leads to diverse careers in early childhood or certification as a Connecticut teacher with a focus in birth to kindergarten or pre-k to grade 3

Paths to a Degree

for placement only

We offer three paths to the master's degree:

  1. Certification: An initial certification program for the individual who holds a bachelor’s degree and wishes to prepare for entry into the teaching profession as a certified early childhood teacher. Students select an endorsement area of birth through kindergarten or pre-k through grade 3. Certification is integrated birth through kindergarten. Student teaching is required for certification, which will involve a full-day commitment near the end of the program.
  2. Non-certification: A non-initial certification option for someone who is already a certified teacher, or who may desire to teach or is already teaching in the private sector or community programs. While you may not need or desire state certification as an early childhood teacher, you may benefit from the curriculum content and graduate-level electives to further your professional career. This option also includes an 18-credit Cross-Endorsement program for individuals holding an initial teaching license who wish to obtain a cross-endorsement in early childhood education.
  3. A Montessori concentration that combines Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) teacher training with a graduate degree. The program is a partnership between the University of Hartford and the Montessori Training Center Northeast (MTCNE). This program is for students who are currently enrolled in or have completed an AMI teacher training program within the past five years. Learn more here.


Central to early childhood education is knowing the individual child in the context of family, school, and community. This knowledge of the child coupled with a developmental focus leads teachers to responsive, differentiated instruction. The ability to work with students with special needs is fully integrated into the curriculum. The goal of this program is to develop early childhood teachers as reflective practitioners who integrate understanding of their content areas, their students, current research, and theories of pedagogy.

An individualized curriculum includes:

  • Learning and developmental theories
  • Knowledge of curriculum and effective teaching strategies
  • Learning about cultural and diverse needs of students
  • Integration of technology
  • Application of skills in assessment and implementation
  • Evaluation of effective educational programs

The following is a sample of courses available through the program.  For the complete curriculum and course descriptions, see the links below.

Curriculum - Certification

The Certification curriculum is a minimum of 42 credits.

Professional Foundations courses total 18 credits and include:

Philosophic and Cultural Issues in Contemporary Education
Theoretical Foundations: Children and Adults with Special Needs
Fundamentals of Reading Instruction
PK-6 Science & Technology

Nursery/Kindergarten Core courses total 15 credits and include:

Model Programs in Early Childhood Education
Working with Families: The Child, Home and Community
Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood

Students also complete 9 credits in Birth-Kindergarten courses or 9 credits in Nursery-Grade 3 courses.

Full curriculum

Curriculum - Non-certification

The non-certification curriculum is 30 required credits, which include:

Research and Statistics in Education and Human Services
PK-6 Science & Technology
Model Programs in Early Childhood Education
Birth-K Integrated Curriculum
Kindergarten - 3 Integrated Curriculum

Professional Pathway - 18 credits

Individuals holding an initial teaching license may obtain an additional CT State Department of Education teaching license in early childhood education by taking 18 credits.  These courses are outlined in the course catalog.

View the full curriculum

Curriculum - Montessori Concentration

The Montessori concentration is 33 required credits, which include the following:

Planning and Administering Early Childhood Programs
Theory and Research in Early Childhood Education
Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood
Fundamentals of Montessori Method
Montessori Development and Social Skills
Montessori Language Arts Reading Curriculum

View full curriculum


The following application materials must be filed for applicants seeking the master's degree in education with an early childhood education emphasis:

  • official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions;
  • two letters of reference from professional or academic sources;
  • completed University of Hartford application for graduate study and application fee;
  • a letter of intent specifying the reasons for seeking admission;
  • a résumé outlining related education and professional experience; and
  • Taking the Praxis Core (formerly Praxis I) academic skills assessment or the SAT (administered after 2005) is required for prospective teachers by the Connecticut State Department of Education. Please submit test results as part of a complete application.

For those pursuing the Montessori concentration, evidence of enrollment in or graduation from the Montessori Training Center Northeast.

Click here to learn additional requirements for international applicants.

Deadlines and Dates

Admission into the MEd with an early childhood education concentration can occur for the fall, spring, or summer semesters. The priority filing dates are April 15 for summer or fall entry and November 15 for entry in spring. Applications received after these priority filing dates will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending upon both the quality of the application and the number of remaining openings in the class. The admission committee will review complete applications in the order in which they are received.

Additional Information

Upon completion of the program, candidates will:

ASSESSMENT: Assess young children in the classroom environment using non-invasive, developmentally appropriate strategies for collecting, organizing and analyzing information.

PLANNING: Apply a variety of developmentally appropriate strategies and differentiation techniques when planning for educational and caring environments for young children birth - age eight.

ADAPT INSTRUCTION: Plan and adapt instruction for all children between the ages of birth through age eight, taking into account each child’s diversity.

INSTRUCTION: Utilize teacher inquiry inclusive of student work sampling to inform effective teaching practice which reflects appropriate instructional strategies respectful of all forms of diversity in order to achieve successful student outcomes.

PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION: Effectively articulate a philosophy of working with children and families; communities and community agencies; and related educational and support professionals.

PROFESSIONAL ETHICS: Know the ethical guidelines for early childhood practice includes the following. Reflecting on their practice in light of research on teaching and resources available for professional learning. Connect to the professional community through professional associations and opportunities for ongoing professional development. Informed advocates acting on behalf of children and their families.
Summer 2023, fall 2023 and spring 2024 tuition rates for the Early Childhood (cert or non-cert), MEd program are below:
Per Credit Rate
Early Childhood (cert or non-cert), MEd $663.00

Department of Education

Graduate Admission Office


Accreditation and State of Connecticut Certification

Certification programs in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions are accredited based on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) through the CAEP Accreditation System (CAEP), as well as the State of Connecticut Department of Education. The Educational Testing Service's Praxis II exam is utilized for certification of teachers in Connecticut. See Pass rate.

Professional Licensing Disclosure

Visit Out-of-State Educators to see the Connecticut State Department of Education reciprocity agreement. The NASDTEC website details the interstate reciprocity agreement across states.

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